Dark Optimism – The Album

by | Feb 18, 2017

Because why not?

I have a passion for tracking down that elusive rarity – eco-songs that don’t suck! And thanks to several Dark Optimism readers, my collection’s growing, from a wide range of genres.

Back in 2011, I published the first ‘Dark Optimism album’, but sadly it was lost due to my using an external MP3 player which later disappeared.

Just hit play below for the 2017 edition, with a few more recent favourites added to the mix:

Honourable mentions also to these pieces from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Akala and RapNews, each brilliant in their own way, but not quite hitting the spot for this collection. Enjoy!

And any more songs (or other creative responses) that you’d like to share greatly welcomed in the comments below.


  1. Dalvin

    Take a listen to “(nothing but) flowers” by The Talking heads.
    It may fit the criteria for your album.

  2. Shaun Chamberlin

    Ah, thanks Dalvin – yes, I know that one well! V interesting song 🙂

  3. Shaun Chamberlin

    Many thanks Bill. Both artists were new to me, and I’m very glad to make their acquaintance.

    “Love in the Time of Coral Reefs” brought me to tears, so that’s likely to make the cut!

  4. Shaun Chamberlin

    Thanks Vasa – it’s all interconnected alright. Nice track!

  5. Shaun Chamberlin

    Cheers Matt, will have a listen. Hope you found something stimulating in my collection to date.

  6. Matthew Slater

    Hey shawn can you follow matslats and jembendell on twitter

  7. Calum McFarlane

    River Man, by Nick Drake. These days, I cannot listen to it without being moved to tears.

  8. Calum McFarlane

    Also – Dead Flag Blues, by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

    “The car is on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel
    And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
    And a dark wind blows

    The government is corrupt
    And we’re on so many drugs
    With the radio on and the curtains drawn

    We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
    And the machine is bleeding to death

    The sun has fallen down
    And the billboards are all leering
    And the flags are all dead at the top of their poles

    It went like this:

    The buildings toppled in on themselves
    Mothers clutching babies
    Picked through the rubble
    And pulled out their hair

    The skyline was beautiful on fire
    All twisted metal stretching upwards
    Everything washed in a thin orange haze

    I said, “Kiss me, you’re beautiful –
    These are truly the last days”

    You grabbed my hand
    And we fell into it
    Like a daydream
    Or a fever

    We woke up one morning and fell a little further down
    For sure it’s the valley of death

    I open up my wallet
    And it’s full of blood”

  9. Shaun Chamberlin

    Thanks Calum, that Godspeed song’s an old friend, but somehow I had failed to consider it for the album. Thanks for the nudge – it’s now strongly in the running for the next!

    the Nick Drake song was new to me. It didn’t hit me hard on first listens, but I have the feeling it’s a slowburner…

  10. Mr Calum A McFarlane

    Betty came by on her way
    Said she had a word to say
    About things today
    And fallen leaves.
    Said she hadn’t heard the news
    Hadn’t had the time to choose
    A way to lose
    But she believes.

    Going to see the river man
    Going to tell him all I can
    About the plan
    For lilac time.
    If he tells me all he knows
    About the way his river flows
    And all night shows
    In summertime.

    Betty said she prayed today
    For the sky to blow away
    Or maybe stay
    She wasn’t sure.
    For when she thought of summer rain
    Calling for her mind again
    She lost the pain
    And stayed for more.

    Going to see the river man
    Going to tell him all I can
    About the ban
    On feeling free.
    If he tells me all he knows
    About the way his river flows
    I don’t suppose
    It’s meant for me.
    Oh, how they come and go
    Oh, how they come and go.

    The lyrics feel strangely and impossibly prescient of our present predicament…like a poem written after a beautiful nightmare

  11. Ken Stokes

    Jackson Browne’s latest album has two strong candidates for anthem of our ‘momvement’:

    Which Side (Are You On)…about “the battle for the future”
    Standing In The Breach (title track)

    I regularly sing both at the top of my lungs!

  12. Stef

    Try ‘Fight them back’ by Steve Mason.

    A weapon has been drawn
    Upon your face since you were born
    Not in shining steel
    But all the currency, it’s porn
    It wants you and desires you
    And it draws you through its gate
    As the heavy doors slam shut behind
    I hope it’s not too late


  13. Shaun Chamberlin

    Hey Dusty, your wish is my command!

    I think this followed by that might hit the spot. But only on condition that you play them LOUD!! (no, louder than that)
    I’ve danced my heart out to both many a time…

    I’d love to say Gojira, since they’re so committed to the message, but I’ve never found one of their songs that musically quite hit the sweetest spot for me…

    And Mike Love definitely has a shout for the slack economy anthem!
    That Billy song’s a favourite of mine too 🙂



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